NASA Wants To Turn Moon Into A Telescope That Looks Like The Death Star
NASA wants to place an ultra-long wavelength radio telescope on the Moon in the hope of giving scientists a look at a time long before humans walked the Earth.
When handing out new exploratory grants for ambitious space projects, NASA awarded funding to one particularly innovative project that has truly captured the imagination of sci-fi lovers.
This project intends to insert the 3,281 ft Lunar Crater Radio Telescope (LCRT) inside a crater on the mysterious far side of the moon, which faces away from the noises and disturbances of Earth.
To make this vision a reality, scientists will land a probe within the crater, before using rovers to unfold a mesh antenna. The observatory itself would reportedly be around one kilometre in diameter, meaning it would be ‘the largest filled-aperture radio telescope in the solar system’.
This project, which is still in the early stages of development, will hopefully be able to measure previously unexplored wavelengths and frequencies, with the centre of the crater containing a suspended receiver capable of picking up frequencies.
Researchers believe this telescope could be used to observe the universe in far greater detail, as the Earth’s atmosphere and radio noise wouldn’t be causing an obstruction.
It’s believed this telescope will allow scientists to learn more about how exactly the universe inflated within a second following the Big Bang, allowing them to observe faint ‘fingerprints’ left behind on the cosmos that haven’t previously been picked up by Earth’s telescopes.
This was one of 23 projects which received a share of a $7 million investment. NASA has awarded $125,000 (£100,900) to this exciting project, with researchers given nine months to see if and how they can develop it.
In a proposal abstract, robotics technologist, Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay – who is the mind behind the project – said:
An ultra-long wavelength radio telescope on the far side of the Moon has tremendous advantages compared to Earth-based and Earth-orbiting telescopes.
LCRT could enable tremendous scientific discoveries in the field of cosmology by observing the early universe in the 10–50m wavelength band (i.e., 6–30MHz frequency band), which has not been explored by humans to date.
It’s even thought this telescope could eventually be maintained by astronauts, with NASA currently planning to build an Artemis Base Camp on the Moon itself.
Of course, Star Wars fans can’t help being reminded of the Death Star, which does look uncannily similar.
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